Is The "DARE" Program Effective?

DARE (for those of you who don’t know) is a program for children which proports to eductae them about the dangers of illicit drug use. This program was founded by two police officers, and is in use aroud the US. A few years ago, I read a report that claimed that the program is not effective…kids who went through it actually had a slightly HIGHER rate of drug use than those who did not.
Do any of you have personal experience? :smack:

Holy crap, man, no need to smack yourself over it…

Do you have a link to this report? I wonder if perhaps kids more likely to use drugs are more likely to be targeted by DARE, which would explain why they’d have a higher rate. I’m curious if they adjusted for that (if it’s indeed the case).

DARE is a waste of time and money. Having second graders draw pictures of coffee pots with a big slash through them is silly. Caffeine is a drug, but teaching second graders that their parents are “addicts” is wrong.

Part of the problem is the inevitable link they draw between illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. With DARE, a sip of beer is the same as injecting heroin. DARE sends wrong messages to students.

I’m not sure if it is or not, but I suspect it’s not as effective as the Darers think. This program has gone over the top. I’ve seen some the most ridiculous things ever out of this program. Like including caffeine in the same class as drugs. (There was a thread about this some time ago).

Kids aren’t stupid. When warnings reach hyperbole, they stop listening.

What they need to do is show these kids the effects of serious drug use, not make coffee and beer out to be the same as shooting heroin (if thats really the case). Take them on a tour of a prison or a real nasty part of town. What else would scare the crap out of them like that? Maybe 2nd grade is a bit young for that, but you see what I am saying.

I can’t say it stopped me. In fourth grade, I was certain I would never drink or smoke - drugs are bad, you know? And I’m sure I agreed wholeheartedly with everything the DARE officer said. I understand the value of getting to 'em while they’re young, but my world had changed a lot by the time I grew up, and now I just feel silly for having such strong feelings about those things in elementary school.

But I did see my second-grade teacher in the store yesterday while buying cigarettes. :smack:

DARE isn’t a targeted-students type of program, though. It’s something that schools that have the program have every student in whatever grades participating be involved in it. Unless you’re suggesting that students attending certain schools are more likely to use drugs than others, I can’t see how this could be the case.

A study in the APA states that

PBS’ Frontiline reports the results of a study done on DARE:

TheYouth Violence Report of the Surgeon General says much the same thing:

Now, this page makes the same claim as ralph124c:

Hmm. It goes on to say:

There was another study, tangentially related, that I recall, that showed that the television ads aimed at the very young also had a counterintuitive adverse effect. It seemed that the risk for this age group was so low to start with that the ads served to increase the appeal to more than it decreased.

[pediatrician hat]Part of my standard schtick at during well checks for HS and above (eg required sports exams) is to ask kids what they think would be more effective than what they’ve experienced in school, given that they all at least know kids who are engaging in risky behaviors despite being able to recite all the facts. This is a very nonscientific survey, but I find it interesting anyway. The first cluster are kids who think that it is hopeless. Either it is a function of family values that the school cannot control, or a function or ongoing real time parental involvement and questioning, or that some people will just be stupid. The next cluster advocates for more graphic information. The 45 yo adult reciting stats doesn’t do it. Pictures, movies, or twentysomethings who have lived out some consequences and would be a more credible source of information, would be more effective, they say. The next cluster advocates for more extracurricular activity. They see the smokers in particular as looking for a social group and that smoking (pot or tobaco) is an easy club to join. If they were otherwise involved they might be a little more resistant, they say. (Of course this group ignores the drinking among the athletes.) And then there are two opposite poles bringing up the rear in the numbers. Those who advocate for locker searches and drug screens with expulsion for any offense. And those who advocate for legalization and regulation of pot, given that tobacco is harder to get a hold of than pot is in their schools. No one is impressed with DARE. Mind you, I’m not endorsing any of these options per se, at least not with this hat on, but I thought that their perceptions would be of interest to this thread.

Another study, BTW, found that programs that included intensive parental involvement were effective. I can find it later if anyone really wants the cite.[/pediatrician hat]

What I always find remarkable are the DARE scandals. So many of the cops involved in the program seem to end up arrested for some drug-related offense. That is not scientific, by the way, just an impression. If kids get the same impression, that’s bad news for any program. Kids don’t like hypocrites (and I ain’t so fond of 'em myself).

I don’t know if this is the case everywhere or not, but in my area the DARE program has been totally discontinued. There were complaints that the program was being used by police to get kids to divulge information about their parents. I never heard anything about whether there was ever any truth to the allegations. I suspect that just their existence was enough to do the program in locally.

When my kids were in grade school and going through the DARE program, we passed a couple of huge biker-type smoking on the street. My son pinched his nose and said, “EWWW! STINKY!”

I was, like, “Dude. Shut UP!” Because you know who they’d get angry with if they chose to…

Side note: I saw DARE posters for years before I ever saw what the acronym stood for. My best guess was “Drugs Are Real Evil.” When I saw that it stood for Drug Awareness Re-Education, I thought to myself, “who educated the kids into thinking the wrong things about drugs to the extent that, in 2nd grade, they now need *re-*education?” Now we know. It’s not that they felt the kids needed re-education about heroin; it was about tobacco and alcohol.

It’s a silly program. Think about it: the full DARE program is usually done around 5th grade or so. Think back to yourself at fifth grade; did your attitudes dowards drugs, sex, or other things children just aren’t involved in stem at all from this time period?

When I took DARE, sure, it made us scared of drugs at the time. That doesn’t mean much when you get older; your ideas are formed by experience, not a friendly DARE officer.

So yeah, waste of money – but then, the war-on-drugs has never been anything but.

I’ve heard about some of these studies that conclude DARE is not really effective, along with “Just say NO” campaigns.

So, is there anything that is effective in preventing drug use among kids?

Drugs weren’t an issue when I was growing up, but I do remember one line from an anti-smoking film that the junior high gym/health teacher showed us.

“The easiest way to stop smoking is to never start.”

That one line made so much sense that the issue was crystalized for me then and there.

Anyway, back to the question: What is effective in preventing drug use among kids?

In our area, the officer who taught DARE to my two oldest daughters was arrested on 6 charges of sexual assault on a minor. Turns out he was nailing a 14-year-old girl that he picked up in one of his DARE programs :eek:

Um, it’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Obviously, you need to lay off the crack pipe. :wink:

My beef with the DARE program in my daughter’s school was with the amount of total crap they were trying to stuff into her head. Once at a restaurant, she told me that I’d have to let her mother drive us home because I had a beer with dinner “and one beer is enough to make you drive drunk.”

WTF? Sooner or later, kids are going to realize that they are being fed BS. And once that happens, they’re going to think anything they’re told about drugs is BS. I don’t want to warn my kid about the dangers of X and have her pfft it off because some zealous idiot has told her caffeine is going to give her a heart attack.

On a police cruiser, it means Donuts Are Really Excellent.

I don’t know if it was a DARE program, but in my public school, 7th grade health class, one of our assignments was to take a worksheet home and come back with the names of all the prescription medications in our parents’ medicine cabinets. :eek: My parents raised holy hell over that, let me tell you, and eventually the teacher said she would throw out the assignment.

Good parental role models?